CEDAR CITY – The Iron County Sheriff’s Office called off search and rescue crews Wednesday night for a missing father following a 12-hour day of search efforts that led nowhere.
The search for 34-year-old Daniel Michael Brown will continue Thursday morning but will be scaled back to a minimal number of crew members as search efforts may likely turn to recovery, said Sheriff Lt. Del Schlosser.
The command post will also be relocated from its existing site 21 miles north of Enoch to the sheriff’s office in Cedar City. Iron County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue set up the command post Tuesday morning at milepost 31 just off state Route 130 Minersville Highway near the Kane Springs area where Brown was last seen.
“Temperatures last night here at the command center were 19 degrees,” Schlosser said. “And given what he was wearing and that he had no coat things don’t look favorable. Unfortunately, this may very well turn into a recovery effort rather than a search effort.”
Several agencies began searching for Brown Tuesday morning when his wife first reported him missing at around 10:30 a.m. She called 911 after spending Monday night in the vehicle with the couple’s four children, ranging in age from 7 months to 11 years old.
The couple had reportedly been homeless for about a week and was looking for a campsite when their van got stuck in the snow. Brown reportedly left his family to go seek help at around 4 p.m., Schlosser said.
Crews began searching for Brown again Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. after calling the search off the night before due to near blizzard conditions that dropped 8 inches of snow on the ground.
The night’s storm hampered search efforts Wednesday, Schlosser said, as crews were unable to find any trace of the missing father.
“We have been unable to locate any tracks due to the weather from the last two days,” Schlosser said.
Crews were still hopeful Wednesday afternoon that the clear weather and sunny skies they were working under for most of the day would bring success.
“Today we’re hopeful that because of his skills he’ll still be alive,” Schlosser said earlier Wednesday afternoon.
Hopes began to wane however, when crews failed to find any indication of Brown in the area even after scouring approximately 75 square miles.
“Today we have not been able to find any tracks or any indications that he is here or that he’s been moving along.”
Authorities believe the couple may have traveled into the Kane Springs area from the Parowan Gap and that it’s likely Brown didn’t realize they were only 2 miles away from Minersville Highway and became lost.
“We’re not sure but that’s what we think may have happened,” Schlosser said.
Brown left the vehicle wearing a blue T-shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes. At the time, the weather was reportedly good but within two hours that all changed, Schlosser said.
“Monday afternoon the weather conditions were just windy,” he said. “But within a two-hour time frame the wife indicated to us the weather started to turn bad at that point. That is concerning to us.”
Brown is described as a 6-foot-3, 250-pound man with brown hair and green eyes.
Anyone who has information on Brown’s whereabouts is asked to call Iron County dispatchers at 435-867-7550 or 911.
Five aircraft from Upper Limit Aviation, four search dogs, six horses, Bureau of Land Management rangers and search and rescue crews from both Iron and Beaver Counties participated in Wednesday’s search.